HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It’s a landmark that’s been here on Church Street for 143 years.
Built in 1874, the Church Street Cumberland Presbyterian Church has seen a few renovations, name changes and notable people walk through its doors over the years.
“Dr. Martin Luther King, in his lifetime, there were meetings in this church during the civil rights era. This is one of the places where some of the meetings were held,” said Reverend Mitchell Walker, Sr.
And just next door rests a marker for the birthplace of Rev. Joseph Lowery.
On Tuesday another milestone in the church’s history. Members of the church, stood across the street in awe- as their church home was torn down. “Mixed emotions. I’ve spent the last 17 years here. A lot of memories. Baptisms, marriages, funerals, Bible studies," says Rev. Walker. “Excited about the next phase of the church’s life.”
That phase includes a brand new building. One that will hold all of their members and be a safe structure for them to worship.
If those walls could talk what would they say? "Oh my, my, my," says Janice Ray. She’s the third generation out of five to attend the church. “I sat all in that church, in the front. In the middle. In the back, but never in that choir stand."
It’s bittersweet for everyone involved but mostly sweet. “Today I feel good because I know we’re going to replace it. It’s a building. We the people make the church,” says Ray.
Church leaders expect to have the new building up in the next 10 months. In the meantime, they will be holding church services in the Cumberland Presbyterian Denomination building next door.